Sunday, January 27, 2013

LET'S KARAOKE 27 : BASIA - CRUISING FOR BRUISING

Basia might not be ruling the chart like other pop singers but her music is 1000 times much better than most of the garbage that I have to endure nowadays. For someone who is neither American nor British, I consider it a tremendous success for her to be part of the international music scene (she is Polish). I first saw her on television performing 'Time And Tide' on a late night show more than 23 years ago. I think it was 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' but my memory is a bit hazy here so I might be wrong. 'Cruising For Bruising' is more than 20 years old and yet it is still as fresh as it was then; an indisputable indication that quality music is timeless and evergreen. I have always loved 'Cruising For Bruising'. There is a bittersweet sentimentality to it that some of us might identify with when love alone is not enough to sustain a relationship and make it work. I don't have the CD single of this song since it is quite difficult to come by and can be a little bit on the expensive side whenever available.

p/s By the way, from certain angles I think there is an uncanny resemblance between her and Maya Karin, the actress from the critically acclaimed 'Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam' and the commercially successful 'Ombak Rindu'. Watch the video clip and you will see what I mean.

The single's cover


Cry
Come to me and cry
I know, I know, I know it's not easy
Your heart is aching
But so is mine
But so is mine

How
Can I tell you why
For so long, so long, so long
I've been thinking
Now I know
I can't live a lie
Can't live a lie

They say true love lasts forever
If we want it
There will be waiting
A second chance
Baby but now we need time
Time to learn
Time to understand
Where we went wrong
'Cause I feel so strong
We're cruising for bruising, my baby

Second chance
Baby but now we need time
Time to learn
Time to understand
Where we went wrong
'Cause I feel so strong
We're cruising for bruising

Go
I must let you go
Don't stop, don't stop
'Cause it's better now
When I still love you
Don't say goodbye
Don't say goodbye

They say true love lasts forever
If we want it
There will be waiting
A second chance
Baby but now we need time
Time to learn
Time to understand
Where we went wrong
'Cause I feel so strong
We're cruising for bruising my baby

Second chance
Baby but now we need time
Time to learn
Time to understand
Where we went wrong
'Cause I feel so strong
We're cruising for bruising

So long, so long, so long
So bye for now
Don't let it die
'Cause we can try
Some other time
So bye for now
Don't let it die
'Cause we can try
Some other time

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MY TOP TEN MALAY CDS OF ALL TIME

 I have always loved music since I was young. Growing up, there was no specific genre that I listened to since the only source of music was either Radio 1 RTM or FM Stereo. FM Stereo would start broadcasting at 9 p.m. every night and I always looked forward to its Pilihan Bersama slot (a song request programme). Every Sunday morning, I waited patiently for a programme called LPMI (Lagu Pujaan Minggu Ini) to be aired on RTM 1 and I would faithfully sit by the radio with my neighbour, Kak Dah (may Allah bless her soul). We jotted down the top ten songs of the week and predicted which one would become the number one song. When I went to boarding school, I kept a small battery-operated transistor radio under my pillow and the songs played would help me go to sleep at night. In college, I always had a few cassettes in my knapsack which I listened to on my yellow Sony Sports Walkman. I wrote about this Walkman in my previous entry so I won't go into details about it here. Nowadays, it's the regional radio station that I listen to most of the time since I truly feel that I cannot totally connect with the music played by the more contemporary radio stations (read : I am getting older). This post, by the way, is about my top ten favourite Malay CDs. I don't own a lot of Malay CDs so my personal choice is also quite limited.
 Aishah - Aishah : Her first solo Malay album after making waves in New Zealand and Malaysia with Fan Club. The group only managed to come up with two studio albums before the members went their separate ways. Aishah's killer song 'Janji Manismu' is still a favourite for many until today and has been covered by two other singers (both Indonesians). With a fantastic voice, clear diction and brilliant interpretation, Aishah is indisputably still one of the best singers around. This album also spawned a few other hits for her and thus, making her one the most popular singers of the early 90s.

Ziana Zain - Puncak Kasih : Ziana Zain during her peak in the local music industry was fabulous. Utterly fabulous. The packaging for this CD was also unique and different compared to the other CDs released at that time. Her previous album (Setiaku Di Sini) was certified platinum and I guess her record company had a lot of confidence that this album would sell well too. Hence, the extra-special packaging for the CD. Ziana still has a lot of loyal fans who support her but unfortunately, has not come up with a full album for quite a while now. Her last CD single "Dingin' which was released a few years ago only received lukewarm response from the public and media alike.

Sharifah Aini - Kenangan Lela Manja : This is Kak Pah's first album without Ahmad Nawab after he left EMI to join WEA. All the songs have been remastered and a few more songs of the same genre were added for this special release. This album truly showcased Kak Pah's ability to render traditional Malay songs flawlessly and effortlessly. Her voice was also in its prime at that time and in my opinion, no current pop singer can top her when it comes to singing traditional Malay songs.

Sheila Majid - Emosi : This is the first Malay CD that I bought more than 20 years ago when local CDs were still manufactured overseas (this one was made in Australia). I'm sure many of her fans were happy when a box set comprising all her studio albums was released a couple of years ago (you can check out the post on Sheila Majid's box set that I wrote if you are interested). 'Sinaran', the first single from this album was initially banned from being aired by the Ministry of Information due to Sheila's pronunciation. This album was commercially well- received by the public in Indonesia and made Sheila a household name there.

Sheila Majid - Legenda : A brilliant and classy interpretation of P. Ramlee's songs with modern instrumentations and fresher arrangements. This is the Japanese pressing of the same album which, in my opinion, is a thousand times better than the Malaysian pressing in terms of sound quality and packaging. The Japanese version, however, has a different version of 'Bunyi Gitar'. The R.A.P. Mix was used as one of the tracks instead of the Extended Mix.

The Bolshoi Ballet Theatre Orchestra Of Tashkent Present Tan Sri P. Ramlee : This is another album which I am not sure whether I can label it 'Malay' or not since it's pure music without any singing at all. It is one of the albums that I listen to whenever I need to relax and unwind. The stereo system that I have doesn't really do justice to the impeccable performances of the orchestra but is good enough to create a calming and soothing ambiance in my house especially during quiet evenings. Even my usually restless cats seem to be subdued every time I put this album in my CD player.

Kumpulan Harmoni - Penantian : I first heard of this group when I was still in high school. Their hit song 'Penantian' immediately became one of my favourites. For some unknown reason, I even asked one of my friends to write the guitar chords for it. FYI, I didn't know how to play the guitar and I still don't. One of the lesser known tracks from the album, 'Sepanjang Jalan Ke Pulau Pinang', is very special to me for reasons that I will keep only to myself. My heart still bleeds (profusely) whenever I listen to it. To my knowledge, this is their only full album that has been released in CD format.

Ebiet G. Ade - Cinta Sebening Embun : I'm not sure if this album can be classified as a 'Malay' album but I'm going to include it in this list anyway. The Indonesians are very proud of their 'Bahasa Indonesia' and they might consider it inappropriate to refer to an album sung in their national language as 'Malay'. This is a collection of songs from an Indonesian poet-singer who is well-known for his 'Camellia' tetralogy. Unfortunately, 'Camellia I' and 'Nyanyian Rindu' are not featured in this compilation and a few other favourite songs of mine are also missing.

Amy Mastura - Amy Mastura : Like Ziana Zain, Amy Mastura was also a stewardess with the Malaysia Airlines before becoming a singer. This is her debut album after winning Asia Bagus in 1993, a star-search television programme produced by Fuji Television. Just like her bubbly personality, most of the songs are cheerful and upbeat.The album was published by Pony Canyon, a Japan-based record company which is a subsidiary of one of the world's largest media company, Fujisankei Communications Group.

Fauziah Latiff - Apa Sebenarnya : Fauziah Latiff (or Jee as she is called) has been singing since her teenage years. This is her seventh studio album but it did not sell as well as her previous effort 'Epilog Memori Gelita' which contains the hit 'Teratai Layu Di Tasik Madu'. There were a lot of speculations regarding her personal life at the time this album was released. A few of the songs also seemed to hint at the speculated marital problems she was having but nobody knew whether the lyrics were intentional or not. She rarely sings on television anymore and nowadays, fans can only catch her when she appears in the occasional drama.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FLASHBACK : MY YELLOW SONY SPORTS WALKMAN

I'm sure many of us have a few things in our possession which we consider as precious due to their sentimental value. These items don't necessarily have to be expensive but they can mean so much to us. This post is about a yellow Sony Sports Walkman which I owned many, many years ago. FYI, I'm referring to the portable cassette player invented by Sony which revolutionised the way we listen to music the world over. It was a WM-F35 which I bought a from a college mate who was in need of hard cash at that time. That Walkman was very chic, sporty and durable. It was also very yellow just like many other Sony Sports products at that time. It never gave me any problem although I did not treat it very well. After the Walkman exchanged hands, it became my constant and loyal companion throughout my college years. I took it almost everywhere I went to. I listened to it while I was studying (or sleeping, rather) at the library, doing my art projects in the studio, completing my term papers (usually at the last minute), walking from one end of the campus to the other (which made me sweat like a hog), waiting for the bus, eating my packed lunch (sandwich, enchilada or quesadilla most of the time) alone in the park. I even listened to it when I was in the loo. My 'love affair' with it, however, did not last. Somebody stole it from me. I was really upset then. I never bought another Walkman since I could never find the same model. More than 26 years later, fate handed me something similar to replace my old Walkman when I least expected it. Zainal and Azhar, two of my friends from out of state came to visit me two weeks ago and as usual, we would head to the Sunday flea market. I have bought a few things there in the past especially secondhand novels, storybooks, magazines and CDs. Nowadays, I go there just to watch the people and enjoy my Sunday. I no longer look for anything in particular since I'm trying hard to curb my hoarding habit (which is making a slow but steady comeback). I was wandering aimlessly in the stifling heat (my two friends were nowhere to be seen) when an old yellow Sony Sports Walkman suddenly attracted my attention. It was not the same model like the one I previously owned but it was the only yellow Walkman that I had seen in quite a long time. I slowly approached the seller since I did not want to show my growing excitement. I did not even ask whether that Walkman could still work or not. After all, its functionality was secondary to me now (FYI, it works just fine). Initially, that guy wanted to sell it for RM 8.00 but I asked him if I could have it for RM 5.00 (I don't like to pay top prices for anything from the flea market). Honestly, I would have paid that RM 8.00 he was asking for in a jiffy but to my surprise, he did not even argue with me (maybe it was my hobo-like dressing that made him feel sympathetic towards me). He simply said okay, pocketed the money that I gave him and handed me the Walkman. I could not believe what I was holding in my hands. A yellow Sony Walkman! I felt as if I was being transported to another time and place. At that time, so many memories came rushing into my head. I remember how I wanted to own a Walkman when it first came out but could not afford one (like a lot of other people, I could not afford a lot of things back then but it was okay). I remember listening to it while walking home alone a few miles from the art studio very late at night since I had missed the last bus. I remember getting mad at a friend for using up my batteries. I remember playing and rewinding Depeche Mode's Strangelove almost 20 times after I bought the cassette single. I remember my housemate, Nasir taking a picture of me holding that Walkman and sitting on the cereal station at the school cafeteria (where I worked a few evenings a week washing dishes after my classes were over). I remember many other things as well but most of all, I remember how a secondhand yellow Walkman gave me so much joy and happiness when I was alone, lonely and did not have much in this world.

p/s I know that this yellow Walkman will never replace the one I had a long, long time ago but this beauty is still able to put a smile on my face and bring back memories of good times in the past.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 - LET'S KARAOKE 26 : KYLIE MINOGUE AND JASON DONOVAN - ESPECIALLY FOR YOU

Yay! Happy New Year, everyone! 2013 is here and I'd like to announce to everyone that the world did not end on December 21 (lots of heavy sarcasm inserted here). I wonder who among us was stupid enough to totally believe such BS. NOBODY, let me repeat that, NOBODY knows when the end of the world is going to happen except Allah. Well, 2012 had its ups and downs for me but I'm grateful that I am still given a chance to be a better human being, son, brother, friend, employee, colleague, listener et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I also hope all good things will come our way. To welcome 2013, I'd like to post another Kylie Minogue karaoke but this time, it's a duet with her back-then beau, Jason Donovan (they were so cute together). The single was released in 1988 and at that time, Kylie was already a well-known international singer while Jason was just beginning his foray into the international music business. The single was quite successful but sadly, their relationship didn't have the same fate. Well, nobody can have everything all the time (I'm sure they have gotten over it though). So this karaoke is especially for all of us and let's hope that 2013 will be a wonderful year.

The single's cover


Especially for you
I wanna let you know what I was going through
All the time we were apart I thought of you
You were in my heart
My love never changed
I still feel the same 

Especially for you
I wanna tell you I was feeling that way too
And if dreams were wings
You know I would have flown to you
To be where you are
No matter how far
And now that I'm next to you

No more dreaming about tomorrow
Forget the loneliness and the sorrow
I've got to say
It's all because of you

And now we're back together, together
I wanna show you my heart is oh so true
And all the love I have is
Especially for you

Especially for you
I wanna tell you
You mean all the world to me
How I'm certain that our love was meant to be
You changed my life
You showed me the way
And now that I'm next to you
I've waited long enough to find you
I wanna put all the hurt behind you
And I wanna bring out all the love inside you

And now we're back together, together
I wanna show you my heart is oh so true
And all the love I have is
Especially for you

You were in my heart
My love never changed
No more dreaming about tomorrow
Forget the loneliness and the sorrow
I've got to say
It's all because of you

And now we're back together, together
I wanna show you my heart is oh so true
And all the love I have is
Especially for you